New York City FC Face Crucial Month of MLS Action
Jun 24, 2017; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York City FC defender RJ Allen (27) celebrates a goal scored by NYCFC defender Ben Sweat against the New York Red Bulls during the second half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC’s performances throughout a difficult July will indicate whether the team has truly improved since last season.

The debate about the impact of schedules on a team’s fortunes remains a hot topic in soccer. Skeptics of such an impact will point out that every team faces the same sides throughout the season and that scheduling wise- everything levels out by the end of the season.

That rarely stops managers from complaining about a tough schedule, however. Look no further than the English Premier League where managers of the “top six” always have a thing or two to say when December rolls around and fixtures compile.

Across the Atlantic, Patrick Vieira has voiced little frustration, despite the fact that the month of July will demand just as much as Decembers in England.


And his silence is worthy of praise.

A heavy schedule is, put simply, part of the beautiful game. If a team cannot handle rough patches, then they cannot compete at the top of their competitions, as Vieira’s side have over the past year and a half.

This month will be a daunting one for NYCFC. It starts with a trip to Vancouver, who know that a victory will place them in the playoff positions. Half of the season still remains, but at this stage, access to such position is often a great inclination for a side to put on a performance. It’s far from a welcoming start to the month.

A two-week break follows NYC’s clash in Canada before they kickoff against current top two placeholders Toronto and Chicago in a four-day period. They then visit Toronto on the 30th.

It goes without saying that these three fixtures are massive to NYCFC’s hope of topping the Eastern Conference let alone erasing the memories of a 7-0 aggregate thrashing to the Canadian side in the playoffs last season.

The Yankee Stadium side could find themselves four points above their next opponents at Yankee Stadium after their second encounter with them. Such a gap would afford them a bit of breathing room as the season draws to its midway point.

Chicago, meanwhile, have won seven of their last eight outings in the MLS. A tough challenge awaits Vieira’s men on the 22nd. The form of both sides have been strong over the past few weeks, and even if Toronto were to steal points prior to this fixture, the recent run of results on both sides points to an entertaining match.

Fortunately, on the big occasions, NYC have stepped up this season, with impressive victories over Columbus, Orlando, and most recently across the Hudson at the Red Bulls. Such a record must continue throughout July if they are to remain competitive at the top.

Should NYC navigate this period, not only will they have preserved their challenge to top the Eastern Conference, but they will have relayed their quality and ability to compete in difficult circumstances.

This feat was beyond them last season, as humiliating defeats to the Red Bulls and Toronto denied them 1st place in the conference and progression to the latter stages of the postseason. Stronger performances in similar circumstances will mark an improvement.

Time will tell whether this side will be able to adapt to challenging periods of a season, and ultimately just how far they have come since their embarrassing exit from the playoffs last season.

NYCFC have not let its supporters down so far.

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Alexander Puri
Alexander Puri is eighteen years of age and currently resides in Manhattan, where he has lived for his entire life. He plans to pursue media studies when he attends Boston University as a freshman this September. Alexander is a passionate soccer fan and supports Juventus, Liverpool FC, and NYCFC. He watches these clubs play on a regular basis and has written multiple articles about all three teams. He normally spends his weekends watching the English Premier League before participating in pickup-soccer games in numerous fields throughout the city. Outside of sports, Alexander takes great interest to science fiction and fantasy franchises and often reads comics and watches films of such genres. For any inquires, you can reach him at alexarjun24@gmail.com